Concerns about climate change motivate Latinos far more than other races, according to a new poll, a finding that could present new ramifications for the 2016 presidential election.
The poll, conducted by the The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future, found that Latinos are more likely than whites to see global warming as a problem that does, or will, affect them personally. They are also more likely to come down in favor of policies like taxes and regulations on greenhouse gas emissions.
Here are some of the key findings of the poll:
- 54 percent of Latinos say climate change is a problem that is “extremely” or “very important” to them, compared with 37 percent of whites.
- 67 percent of Latinos believe that if nothing is done to curb global warming in the future, it will hurt them at least a moderate amount personally, compared with only half of whites.
- 63 percent of Latinos say the federal government should do “a lot” or “a great deal” to curb the effects of climate change, compared with 49 percent of whites.
- 80 percent of Latinos think companies should be required to pay a tax for every ton of greenhouse gases put out by the coal, natural gas, and oil the companies bring in from other countries.
For a Republican Party divided on the issue of climate change and looking to garner more Latino support in the 2016 presidential election, the findings present a challenge, especially in certain swing states more prone to the potential effects of climate change.
The party has vehemently opposed President Barack Obama’s efforts to encourage the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions. Obama’s executive actions on climate change have been popular with Latino voters, according to a poll from the firm Latino Decisions.
A 2013 survey from the Pew Research Center found that more than three-quarters of Latinos think the earth has been warming. More than six in 10 Latinos believe the warming is due to human activity.
Latinos and other minorities may be more perceptive of the effects of climate change because studies have shown they are already more exposed to certain toxins. A 2014 study found that minority populations were 38 percent more exposed than whites to the toxin nitrogen dioxide, which is emitted from things like cars and power plants.
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.